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Portuguese pavement - looks good but…………………
04/25/2011, Lagos

I like Lagos and Portugal in general but I am not a fan of the pavements - (in Portuguese, Calçada Portuguesa). When we first came to Portugal and noticed it we thought that someone had got a job lot of the little squarish stones which are hard to walk on and can be quite slippery after rain or in early morning / late evening as they present a glassy, low grip surface leading to slips and falls. As lots of the coastal towns are hilly this makes the problem even worse! I was moaning to the girl in the office in the Ria Formosa boatyard and she said it is traditional. It is also popular in Spain. It is used on sidewalks and in plazas where there are quite ornate patterns. Here is a sample of some from one of the main squares in Lagos.

Into the Boatyard
04/20/2011, Lagos

We were lifted out for a week to 10 days yesterday to anti-foul and do some other jobs in Sopromar in Lagos which is very clean and tidy with tarmac rather than the sand in Olhao but the price is higher of course. However only a short walk to the beach.

Kaivalya decided to be difficult about reversing into the lift, the worst she has ever been, so we had to drop the forestay and go in forwards. While she was being pressure-washed the lift driver was chatting to us about her antics - going round in a circle or sideways and spotted some thin rope round the prop, no wonder we were so slow and she was misbehaving big time. However we could see that the rope cutter on the propeller had worked!

Gibraltar to Lagos
04/14/2011, Lagos

We set off from marina Bay at 6am in order to make the most of the tide and stayed close to the Spanish coast as this is best for small boats. The bay was full of huge tankers and cargo ships as usual and there was also an American drilling ship with a huge tower on top, lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree - wish I had taken a picture but felt too dopey. Another good snap would have been the sight of the Rock with the sun rising behind it.

It seemed to take forever to clear the Straits and we were only making 3 ½ knots so we suspect that the prop must be fouled up, Jeff said that when he dived to clean Rose and Gordon's Cat in La Linea that there was a lot of fouling on the prop. The forecast turned out to be just that - a forecast so the good sail we were anticipating didn't arise! The wind was very light around a 2 from the west and not east 3-5 as expected. So we had to motor as Kaivalya is heavy and needs at least a 3 to sail. We were keen to get on as we heard later from Tarifa on the radio that a Levanter was coming with an 8 in the Straits.

The day was warm and overcast at first and then we had blue skies in the afternoon when we were joined by half a dozen bees, busily landing on anything that was brightly coloured like the vivid yellow label on the lift raft and the red switches on the auto-pilot - hoping for flowers no doubt. We relaxed in the cockpit enjoying being at sea and having the odd nap to make up for the early start and the broken sleep to come during night watch.

Just before I started the first night watch around 9pm we saw a huge passenger liner coming out of the bay of Cadiz and behind it we saw our first dolphins. There were about 30 or so in the pod which passed about 20 metres away on the starboard side, no doubt having had some fun playing with the liner's bow wave. After that as the darkness fell I thought I saw a small bird but the telltale jerky flight made me realise it was a bat, unusual I thought as we were about 30 miles offshore.

It was a half moon and the stars looked beautiful with numerous shooting stars. To pass the time I identified constellations - as I only know Orion and The plough, that didn't take long, I have bought Alex's old glow stars identification book so must get it out and try to learn some more. As I came off watch at midnight the swell was increasing but the wind was still minimal - odd?

Three came round too soon and I was up making a tomato cuppa soup which always tastes great at sea or fell walking when you are cold and tired but never the same in other circumstances in my opinion. It was harder to be alert during this watch but I didn't falter. There were a number of boats on radar but they didn't come close. Steve said the swell had got up on his watch and some waves were big enough to break but it had subsided by my watch.

I was relieved at six and went back for a kip till 0930. We were going faster now, about 5 knots but were not going to arrive in Lagos around midday as hoped. Still little wind but the lobster pots had started to appear as the water was more shallow. We shed our overnight heavy gear as the sun warmed up and had a bacon sandwich.

We arrived in Lagos around 4 in the afternoon and moored on pontoon D and waved across to Jenny and Colin who we met on E last winter but sadly they seem to be the only folk we know from our time here - the marina looks to have a lot of space.

Picture shows us closing on Lagos.

Churros for breakfast
04/08/2011, La Linea

I saw a recipe for making churros in a travel magazine saying they are wonderful to eat so I treated Rose as she has a sweet tooth like me. We went to a café/bar which I had seen packed with locals having churros every morning so thought it must be a good bet to go there.

The churros are a type of doughnut, long and thin and dipped in chocolate, I thought . In my practically non-existent Spanish I ordered one batch of them and they arrived with 2 coffees. This was not very exciting, we both found them rather bland so I asked for 2 hot chocolates and because of my hopeless Spanish we also got another plate of churros. The chocolate was better but we were still not seeing them as a gastronomic treat. Maybe I will give them a try somewhere else but as I am not bowled over by Spanish cakes finding them rather over sweet often, I am not too hopeful.

04/07/2011, La Linea

A nice sunset after a dull day.

A riveting time for Jeff
04/06/2011, La Linea

We were anxious to get Jeff up his mast before the Levanter comes and we are also planning to leave soon - weather permitting. Jeff wants to rivet an eye pad on his mast so he can attach an inner forestay. The previous day had been wet and dull so we were for have the perfect day today.

Steve and I winched him up, this time with no ladder, and then hoisted up a bucket bag with tools in. When we bought the boat I was sorely tempted to throw out this grotty looking bag but Steve said no and it has been invaluable for lifting things up on a pulley when we have been in a boatyard. Here Jeff is with riveter in hand, early ballet training coming in handy!

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